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The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS

Avner Ahituv, V. Joseph Hotz and Tomas Philipson
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 31, No. 4 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 869-897
DOI: 10.2307/146150
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/146150
Page Count: 29
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The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS
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Abstract

This paper investigates the degree to which the local prevalence of AIDS increases the demand for disease-preventing methods of contraception among young adults. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY-1979), we find substantial evidence that the use of condoms was quite responsive to the prevalence of AIDS in one's state of residence, and this responsiveness has been increasing over time. We present both cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence estimating that a 1 percent increase in the prevalence of AIDS increases the propensity to use a condom significantly and up to 50 percent for the most prevalence-responsive groups. Our findings lend support to the existence of a self-limiting incentive effect of epidemics-an effect that tends to be ignored in epidemiological theories of the spread of infectious diseases.

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